Criminal Defense Resources & FAQs

Navigate the complex U.S. criminal trial process with curated resources. Learn how defense lawyers protect the accused's rights and ensure a fair trial.

I Need a Lawyer

The average cost of a criminal defense case can range from several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars. However, having a criminal defense lawyer can provide invaluable benefits, such as a better understanding of the legal system, protection of one's legal rights, and potentially a better outcome.

What Is Considered a Crime?

In the United States, crimes against people, property, animals, society, and crimes involving substances land folks in criminal court every day. These resources have been curated to help people gain a better understanding of crime statutes and what is considered a crime in the United States. In most cases, a criminal defense attorney is the best resource for those accused of crimes.

Criminal Trials

The criminal trial process in the United States is a complex and multifaceted system that involves numerous steps and procedures. From the initial investigation to the final verdict, each stage of the process is critical to ensuring justice. Along the way, individuals accused of a crime may hire a criminal defense lawyer to represent them in court. These lawyers are essential to protecting the rights of the accused and ensuring a fair trial.

Criminal Records

More than 45,000 federal and state statutes prohibit people with criminal records from performing activities available to people without criminal records. These include employment, housing, education, and more. It is still possible to fall under this category even if you have never been convicted. Even if you are never convicted, an arrest for it can appear on your criminal record. This can cause a variety of problems for you in the future. Learn more about criminal records with these resources.

Interacting With Law Enforcement

Interacting with law enforcement can be frightening if you don't know your rights and protections under U.S. law. With these resources, know what to expect when it comes to search warrants, talking to police, Miranda rights, and more.

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  • What does a criminal defense lawyer do?

    Criminal defense attorneys provide help to those facing misdemeanor or felony criminal charges. The attorney will research the circumstances surrounding the charge and investigate the case on behalf of the client. This may involve talking to police, interviewing witnesses, determining a plea, and assessing possible sentences. With this information, the defense attorney can negotiate plea deals or navigate a court case on behalf of the client. In some cases, the attorney may get a case dismissed entirely, a reduction in bail or jail time, or probation or community service instead of prison.

  • How do I know if I need a criminal attorney?

    Any criminal charge that could result in a prison sentence requires the help of a criminal defense lawyer. This applies to both misdemeanor and felony charges, including:


    • Petty theft
    • Public intoxication
    • Simple assault
    • Disorderly conduct
    • Vandalism
    • Reckless driving


    • Murder
    • Rape
    • Kidnapping
    • Aggravated assault
    • Specific types of fraud
    • Possession of certain types of drugs

  • What steps should I take after being charged with a crime?

    The first thing to do after being charged with a crime is to contact a criminal defense attorney. It is best to hire a defense attorney as soon as possible after being released from arrest, and before an arraignment takes place. The attorney will explain charges in detail, and possible consequences, to help you decide whether a plea deal or a jury trial is the best option. Most attorneys offer free consultations to discuss the circumstances of a criminal case and how they're able to assist. Speaking with a number of defense attorneys before hiring one can increase the likelihood of finding the right fit, and getting the best defense possible.

  • What if I can’t afford a criminal defense lawyer?

    All Americans are afforded the right to hire an attorney to act as a defense in a legal case. However, not everyone can afford one. If an attorney isn’t in a defendant’s budget, and the defendant’s income meets designated state or local thresholds, the court system will provide a public defender. This attorney usually works on cases pro bono or without any fees paid by the defendant. Many public defenders have a high caseload, which can limit the amount of time they are able to devote to each case. In most situations, hiring a dedicated criminal defense lawyer ensures the best outcome. This is particularly true in more serious felony cases that can result in a significant prison sentence without the involvement of a skilled, experienced defense attorney.

  • Why hire a criminal defense attorney?

    Working with a criminal defense attorney is the best way to minimize the ramifications of committing or being accused of a crime. Criminal attorneys thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding a case to prove innocence or inspire reasonable doubt in a jury. Criminal defense lawyers also are better prepared to negotiate with the prosecutors. Due to the high cost and logistics involved with taking a case to trial, many prosecutors are willing to reduce sentences in exchange for avoiding a jury trial. An experienced criminal attorney understands what would be a reasonable deal for a specific criminal charge, and will negotiate it on behalf of the defendant.

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